After ending October with a 2-2 road trip to Arizona, the Polar Bears opened November against and old rival and new PCHA opponent.
Facing San Jose State University’s Division II squad Friday night, SRJC hoped to get back on track after suffering its first two losses of the season. The Polar Bears came up short in each of their previous matches against the DII team, with last season’s 5-4 overtime loss still fresh in their minds. SJSU came out strong, scoring three goals in the first period off goalie Chris Tomaszewski. The Polar Bears threw a new goalie in the net in the second period, but San Jose put two more on the board off power plays before the Polar Bears trimmed the lead to three. A couple of questionable calls against SRJC put the team on the penalty kill most of the third period and eventually fell to SJSU 5-3.
Returning home the next day the Polar Bears took on their new PCHA opponent, the San Francisco State University Gators. It didn’t take long for SRJC to wow fans at Snoopy’s Home Ice, as forward Josiah Nikkel scored off a pass from Matt Sullivan for an early 1-0 lead. Nikkel would open each of the three periods with a goal, leading the way for his teammates to lay down an offensive outburst on the Gators. The Polar Bears scored three in the first period, five in the second and seven in the final period.
As SRJC racked up the goals, goalie Jacob Pavsek made sure to stop the Gators from getting in the game. Playing his first full game this season, Pavsek stopped 11 of 13 shots, paving way for a 15-2 win for the Polar Bears.
“I felt good getting the start,” Pavsek said. “I didn’t know how SFSU was doing this season, but it didn’t matter me. It was really exciting to get some ice time and join my teammates.”
Topping the offense was Nikkel who ended the night with four goals and four assists, upping his point streak to 13 games. Adam Johnson also added four goals, along with two goals by Jackson Waldron and three assists by Sullivan. The Polar Bears only had two penalties of the night, while scoring one power play goal (Adam Johnson, 3rd period) and one shorthanded off the stick of Alex De Vaughn.
The Polar Bears will now gear up for the third annual Wine Country Collegiate Classic November 7-9 at Snoopy’s. The team’s showcase will feature stiff competition with College of the Canyons, UC Davis and the University of Northern Colorado scheduled to take the ice. SRJC did not fare well in last year’s showcase, losing all three games. With only a few games left before the first league rankings are released, the Polar Bears need to make sure not to repeat last year’s troubles.
“We feel really good going up against these teams this weekend. It will be a really good test for us to show that this team is worthy for nationals and a top contender,” Pavsek said. “If we can show discipline and not take many penalties, I think we can erase those three losses from last years and get three wins.”
More information about this week’s showcase can be found on the team’s website.